Voters in Michigan Disapprove of Biden’s Handling of the Economy

By Adeline Von Drehle
Published On: Last updated 03/18/2024, 03:32 PM EDT

A majority of voters in the key swing state of Michigan disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the economy despite having a solid personal financial situation, new data shows.

Quinnipiac University released a poll last week indicating that 56% of voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy while 41% approve. These findings suggest that to win in November, the president must turn around the narrative on the economy.

Among Republicans, 24% say the economy is the most important issue facing the country. (The only issue that surpassed it is immigration, cited by 42% of Republican respondents. No other issue reached double digits). The economy leads in importance for only 10% of Democrats (42% believe “preserving democracy” is most important, 12% cited violence). The economy is the top issue among independents at 26% (21% say preserving democracy, 18% say immigration).

The Quinnipiac survey also shows that 35% of voters describe the state of the economy as either excellent (6%) or good (29%). An overwhelming 65% of voters say the economy is doing either not so good (28%) or poor (37%). Of this same group, a majority (61%) describe their personal financial situation as either excellent (9%) or good (52%), while 38% describe it as either not so good (25%) or poor (13%). 

“A head scratcher, but a fact: 65% of Michigan voters seem to think the economy is shaky at best, but nearly the same number say their finances are doing just fine,” said Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy. 

In reality, the United States economy is doing comparatively well. Growth last year was the strongest of any large economy worldwide, while inflation fell faster. Unemployment remains near record lows and the economy added another 275,000 jobs in February, outperforming Wall Street forecasts. The S&P 500 has hit record highs this year. 

It may be that U.S. citizens, as evidenced by Michigan voters, are simply not feeling this economic improvement. Or it may be, as some Democrats suggest, that Biden and his campaign have done a poor job of commanding the narrative and will need to do better if they hope to prevail over Donald Trump in November.

According to the Michigan RCP Average, Trump leads Biden by 3.5 points (46.5%-43%). Nationally, the RCP Average places Trump up 1.7 points over Biden (47.2%-45.5%) in a two-way race, not accounting for independent candidates.

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